Grow a Vineyard to Create Homemade Wine

When you grow a vineyard to create homemade wine sharing a bottle of wine made from your own vineyard harvest is sublime. Includes information on grape varieties, establishing the vineyard, pruning and kniffin and high-renewal training diagrams.

| November/December 1982

When you grow a vineyard to create homemade wine it's hard to beat the joy of sharing a bottle of beverage made from your own vineyard harvest. Learn about grape varieties to plant, how to establish your vineyard, pruning grapevines and kniffin and high-renewal training diagrams. 

A glass of crisp white wine—or perhaps of a hearty red—is the perfect accompaniment to good food and fellowship . . . and that drink can be all the more special if it's a product of your own labor. Yet, though many amateur vintners consistently make superior beverages, most folks still avoid "putting up" their own wine.

However, despite the fact that the winemaking process is indeed somewhat complex and results in occasional disappointments, it's not all that difficult—if you're ready to spend some winter days in preparation—to grow a vineyard to create homemade wine and turn its harvest into high-quality table wines. This article, then, is a practical, result-oriented introduction to the art of home viticulture and winemaking.


All experienced vintners will agree on at least one point: Only a quality grape will produce a superior wine. It's simply not possible to make a prize-winning Bordeaux with the fruit of a common backyard vine. And, unfortunately, the classic European winemaking grape varieties (Vitis vinifera) are delicate in nature and will grow only in a few select areas of the country . . . primarily along the California coast.

Luckily, however, this problem's been solved . . . thanks to the introduction of a family of grapes called French hybrids into the United States. These unique vines are crosses between American and European varieties, and have inherited the good qualities of both strains: That is, they typically blend the hardiness and disease resistance of their local ancestors with the delicate traditional flavor of their overseas parents. A number of these hybrids are now widely available from local nurseries or through mail order suppliers. Here are six favorites . . . the first three suited for making red wine and the second trio appropriate for a "white" beverage.

Baco Noir: a disease-resistant, early ripening variety for short-season areas. The wine made from these grapes is generally similar to red Bordeaux.

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